Last Saturday I had two polar opposite experiences. I went to a conference at Ozark Christian College where I graduated in 1995. I haven’t been back to the campus since 2000. There have been a number of changes in the last 14 years. The chapel has had dramatic overhaul of the stage, carpet, seating and entryway. The I walked over to the building that used to be the book store and administration building. Now it is a really nice student center and a brand new bookstore. I could spend a lot of time writing about all the positive changes I saw on the campus and I only saw a few buildings.
After the conference my wife and I drove back toward Adrian and we took a little detour to where we lived right after we were married. In 1995 the two of us made our home in a little community where I had my first “full-time” preaching ministry. The Church put us up in an older house that a lady in the Church owned but she was now living in a nursing home. We arrived in the town and drove by the old Church building that looked about the same. Then we made a left and a right and there sat the old home. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has turned into a dump. The house has not been painted in 20 years, many of the windows were boarded up and there was junk all over the lawn. One window was crammed full of stuff like stuffed animals so someone must be living there. It appears no improvements have been made since the days we lived in it. As a result, it was now a house that should be condemned.
On one hand I saw a place that was changing and improving every year. On the other hand I saw a place that was unchanged and was deteriorating with every year. It was the fitting end to a day when I had visited the college for a conference on making changes in the local Church. We either change for the better or we deteriorate for the worse. Nothing stays the same – not colleges, houses, Churches or even people. My hope for my ministry is that I would be an influence for positive change wherever I go. I hope in 20 years I will not revisit a Church I have led and see a dump instead of place of discipleship.